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Maryland men's soccer vs Rutgers preview (part two)

The Terps are rolling after three straight victories and they will look to make it four in-a-row against the Scarlet Knights.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Maryland men’s soccer (3-3) will face Rutgers (3-4) at Ludwig Field in College Park Tuesday afternoon. The Terps are looking for their fourth win in as many games as they continue their comeback season after starting 0-3 to kick off the 2021 campaign.

Maryland dropped its first three matches of the season, but have since beaten Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State en route to nine points in the Big Ten standings, which places the Terps in a tie with Rutgers for fifth in the conference.

Most recently, Maryland took down Michigan State, 2-1, as it reached a .500 record for the first time this season. Redshirt senior forward Paul Bin collected his second and third goals of the season in the victory.

After their game against Rutgers, the Terps will travel to Northwestern for their fourth road game of the season. Maryland is 1-2 on the road so far, with the lone road victory coming against Michigan.

Tuesday’s match starts at 12 p.m. and will be televised on BTN Plus.

What happened last time

The Terps last faced Rutgers in their third match of the season on March 3, after Maryland dropped its first two games of the year to Penn State and Ohio State.

Maryland’s offense was going through a clear rut just a few games into its season, which only seemed to continue against the Scarlet Knights on the road.

The Terps didn’t generate much in the first half against Rutgers’ back line, as they collected just four shot attempts through the first 45 minutes. Rutgers, on the other hand, scored the first goal in the opening eight minutes of the match and managed nine shot attempts on freshman goalie Jamie Lowell in the first half.

Maryland had its golden opportunity come in the 52nd minute of the match, though. Junior defender Thomas DeVizio of the Scarlet Knights was handed a red card, giving the Terps a man-advantage for the remaining 38 minutes of the match.

Despite being a man-up the rest of the way, Maryland’s offense remained very stagnant. While the Terps finished with 11 total shot attempts in the second half, they couldn't find a way to put one into the back of the net.

Then in the 62nd minute, Rutgers put the game away with a critical blow from senior forward Ritchie Barry. Barry was able to strike a free kick past Lowell into the upper left corner of the goal from 22 yards out to give the senior his second goal of the match and the Scarlet Knights a 2-0 lead.

For the remainder of the match, Maryland was forced to play catch-up and couldn't muster a goal as time expired. It was the third straight match that the Terps had dropped to open the season.

What’s happened since

Ever since Maryland dropped to 0-3 on the 2021 season, it has only been a positive progression for head coach Sasho Cirovski and the Terps.

After the 2-0 loss to Rutgers, Maryland returned to Ludwig Field to face last-place Wisconsin. The Terps only needed one goal to capture the three points, coming by way of freshman forward Jacen Russell-Rowe. Wisconsin finished with just two shot attempts in the Terps’ first win of the season.

The one-win Maryland squad then faced Michigan, which was at the top of the Big Ten standings coming into the match. An early red card from the Wolverines’ goalie propelled the Terps to the first two goals of the game. Redshirt senior forward Mike Heitzmann tallied the first goal in the 14th minute, while Bin also scored his first of the year in the 70th minute. Michigan managed a response with a goal in the 72nd minute, but Maryland held on to win 2-1 on the road.

In the Terps’ last game, they defeated Michigan State in a 2-1 victory to push their record back to a .500 clip for the first time this season.

Looking at Rutgers since it took down Maryland on March 3, the Scarlet Knights have dropped off in a major way.

Rutgers has lost three straight matches since shutting out Maryland, losing to the likes of Michigan, Penn State and Indiana, all of which can be found towards the top half of the Big Ten standings.

The Scarlet Knights first lost to Michigan in overtime, 1-0. Then, the Scarlet Knights couldn't get it done defensively on the road against Penn State as they dropped the match, 4-2. Most recently, Rutgers lost to No. 9 Indiana in a 3-0 defeat Friday.

It’s evident that both of these teams are headed in opposite directions come Tuesday’s match.

Three things to watch

1. Will Bin continue his torrid scoring run? The captain for this Maryland team has provided his best performances yet during the Terps’ three-game winning streak in the month of March. Against Michigan, Bin provided the game-winning goal in the 70th minute. Then, Bin produced the next time out against Michigan State, scoring the only two goals of the match for Maryland in the win. It’s clear that the senior has only gotten better as this season has progressed and he’ll look to keep it going against Rutgers.

2. Can the Terps’ defense thrive once again? In the first three games of the season, Maryland gave up six goals while scoring just two. Since that 0-3 start, the Terps’ improved defense has propelled them to nine points on the season. In its last three matches, Maryland has conceded just two goals (one of those coming in the 90th minute). The Terps have simply shut their opponents’ attack down as of late and it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep it rolling against the Scarlet Knights.

3. Can Maryland continue to collect important points? Maryland has flipped its season around in its last three matches to improve to the fifth spot in the Big Ten standings. This will be the final time that the Terps’ see Rutgers in the regular season, making this match even more important. Both of these teams are tied in the standings with just three games remaining in the Terps’ regular season after this match. It continues to be now-or-never for Maryland if it wants to finish in the top half of the standings, as Indiana and Penn State still loom in the near distance on the schedule.